How to spot a bad marketing consultant

Written by Carl West

Spot a bad marketing consultant

Unfortunately, there are more bad marketing consultants than good ones, and for business owners or in-house marketers looking for strategic input, spotting the difference between the two can be a real challenge, and make for a costly error.

Here are a few sure-fire ways to help you spot the bad consultants from the good ones, and get your strategic planning on track:

A bad consultant uses the strategy word with every tactical channel i.e. social media strategy or content strategy, a good consultant knows that strategy defines the plan, tactics define the actions.

A bad consultant waves their SWOT or PEST analysis template as the holy grail for marketing, a good consultant will talk about the need for qualitative and quantitative research insights to inform decisions.

A bad consultant talks about millennials, Gen X, or baby boomers as segments, a good consultant talks about segmenting the market by using behavioural and psychographic variables.

A bad marketing consultant identifies customer personas as pivotal to their approach, a good consultant will help create market orientation, getting out there and talking to customers and not relying on stereotypes or assumptions.

A bad marketing consultant suggests the strategy can be derived from a couple of meetings or a game of things,  a good consultant knows it is a sequential multi-step process that can take weeks to create, not hours.

A bad marketing consultant talks about USP’s, a good consultant knows that uniqueness is a little like rocking horse sh*t and instead, focuses on distinctiveness first before differentiation.

A bad marketing consultant will willingly talk about a rebrand as a good idea to solve the problem, a good consultant knows this is the absolute last resort and is not a path to be taken lightly.

A bad marketing consultant places 100% of their budget into lead generation activities (despite only 5% being in-market) but a good consultant will look to integrate long term brand building within the budget.

A bad marketing consultant is obsessed with tactical delivery, despite it being only a third of the marketing process, a good consultant takes time to diagnose, gather evidence and consider choices first.

A bad marketing consultant jumps to conclusions and tactical solutions, a good consultant will properly map the customer acquisition journey and conversion rate problems to guide their choices.

Marketing Lab is a brand management and marketing consultancy working with regional, national, and international businesses to mitigate marketing investment risk, ensuring more informed decisions are made with a view to improving sales and profitability, growing market share, and building brand equity. Request a FREE 30-minute brand management consultation.